By Donna Fletcher Crow @DonnaFletcherCr
One of my first principles in telling a story is that in order to write about a place I need to visit it first. When one lives in Idaho and sets their books in England that can be a challenge, but with careful planning, an achievable goal.
But what about the fact that the events in my newest book A Lethal Spectre, Lord Danvers Investigates #5, occurred more than 160 years ago? Much as I might wish it were possible, Tardis travel isn’t within my grasp.
So I had to settle for visiting my locations as they are today, then applying a healthy dose of imagination to picture what these scenes looked, sounded and smelled like in 1857.
In London St. James’s Palace, where Lady Danvers presents her charge at one of Queen Victoria’s Drawing Rooms, has changed little.
Likewise, the church of St. George in the East is little changed externally, although, fortunately, the area around it is greatly gentrified.
Hyde Park is still a haven of lovely green quiet—except during a Royal Salute on the Queen’s birthday.
The Docklands, however, which feature largely in this book, are radically transformed.
To get a feel of what it must have been like in Victorian times, I found photos and the Museum of the Docklands online.
Brighton is another venue in the book. Unfortunately, the Bedford Hotel is no more.
And the elegant Chain Pier was destroyed by a storm in 1896.
Fortunately, however, the Royal Pavilion is in better repair today than it was in mid-Victorian times since Queen Victoria did not care for it and sold it to the town corporation who struggled to maintain it.
Serendipitously, I was able to step fully back into the past when we discovered a group of Regency dancers preparing for an event later that evening and I was allowed to photograph them.
Donna Fletcher Crow is passionate about English history and loves telling the stories of the men and women who have shaped the world we live in. She is the author of some 50 books--all available on her website along with pictures from her research trips--something else she is passionate about. Her newest release is A Lethal Spectre, Lord Danvers Investigates